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Recognising and Preventing Elder Abuse

14 June 2024
Volunteer Happy Older Lady

On June 15th, we observe World Elder Abuse Day, a vital occasion dedicated to raising awareness about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.

This day serves as a powerful reminder that elder abuse is a widespread issue affecting millions worldwide, and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure the safety, dignity, and wellbeing of our older generations.

In New Zealand, 75% of alleged abusers are family members, and the perpetrators are just as likely to be female as male.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Recognising the signs of elder abuse can be challenging, but it’s essential for early intervention.

Some common indicators include:

  • Physical Signs: Bruises, fractures, burns, or injuries that are unexplained or inconsistent with the explanation given.
  • Emotional Signs: Withdrawal, depression, anxiety, fearfulness, or changes in behavior that may indicate emotional abuse or neglect.
  • Financial Signs: Unusual withdrawals from bank accounts, sudden changes in financial documents, or the unexplained disappearance of money or valuables.
  • Neglect: Poor hygiene, malnutrition, untreated medical conditions, or unsanitary living conditions.

What You Can Do

Educate Yourself and Others: Knowledge is power. Learn about the signs of elder abuse and share this information with your family, friends, and community. The more people who are informed, the better we can protect our elders.

Reach Out and Listen: If you suspect that an older person is being abused, reach out to them in a non-judgmental way. Listen to their concerns and let them know you are there to support them.

Report Suspected Abuse: Don’t hesitate to report suspected abuse to the relevant authorities. You can contact the Ministry of Health, Adult Protection Services, or the Police. Reporting abuse is not just a duty—it’s a crucial step in safeguarding vulnerable adults.

Support and Empower: Encourage older adults to participate in social activities, stay connected with family and friends, and access community resources. Empowering them to maintain their independence and social ties can reduce the risk of abuse.


Together, we can make a difference!

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